‘Journeys To New Worlds’ At PMA Surveys Spanish & Portuguese Art

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) will present an exhibition of paintings, furniture and works in silver and ivory from Roberta and Richard Huber’s collection of Spanish and Portuguese colonial art. “Journeys to New Worlds” will be on view February 16–May 19 in the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building

The exhibition offers compelling evidence of the new visual culture created by the global empires of these two nations in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Including religious sculptures, silverwork and paintings of Catholic saints and South American aristocrats, this exhibition offers rare insight into a world of dramatic change and converging cultures.

“Journeys to New Worlds” will illuminate for visitors the variety and complexity of art made during the Iberian colonial period. It contains several paintings by the Andean master Melchor Pérez Holguín (Bolivian, circa 1665-1724) including “Pietà,” circa 1720, an inventive interpretation of Catholic iconography.

The exhibition also explores the adaptation of European imagery into local idioms, for example the presence of Asiatic features on ivory sculptures produced in the Portuguese colonies in Goa and the Spanish colonies in the Philippines. The enormous wealth generated by Spain’s colonial possessions in South America and the sophisticated lifestyle it supported can be seen in the “Portrait of Rosa de Salazar y Gabiño, Countess of Monteblanco and Montemar,” circa 1764–71, by an unknown Peruvian artist, which depicts one of the richest aristocrats of Peru at that time.

“The House at Nazareth,” a late Eighteenth Century work by an unknown Bolivian artist, takes a scene venerated in high religious culture and translates it into a familiar domestic scene replete with lively details and vibrant color. The combination of these hybrid visual traditions — European, American and Asian — provide viewers with a glimpse of the new and increasingly complex cultural world forged in the making of these global empires.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener director and chief executive officer at PMA, said, “We are delighted to share with the public Roberta and Richard Huber’s remarkable collection. These objects, many on view for the first time in the United States, will enrich and delight our visitors. The Hubers have promised as a gift to the museum a large group of historically significant paintings that will strengthen our collection and bolster our longstanding commitment to the arts in Latin America.”

PMA, in association with Yale University Press, will publish a fully illustrated scholarly catalog detailing the works of art.

The museum is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For information, www.philamuseum.org or 215-763-8100.

Melchor Pérez Holguín (Bolivian,  circa 1665–1724), “Pietà,” circa 1720, oil on canvas, 4215/16 by 305/16 inches; promised gift of the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection.

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